Nolte: Spielberg’s ‘Woke Side Story’ Dives 68% at Box Office in Week Two

20th Century Films/LAURENT EMMANUEL/AFP via Getty Images
20th Century Films/LAURENT EMMANUEL/AFP via Getty Images

All hope for Steven Spielberg’s racially divisive West Side Story remake died in week two, plummeting 68 percent with a humiliating take of just $3.4 million.

After ten days in release, which includes two weekends, this historic box office bomb has grossed just $17.9 million.

The hope had been that word of mouth would give Woke Side box office legs. Sorry, nope. No legs. Just two little stumps.

Between production and marketing, this stinker probably cost close to $200 million. As a result, Disney’s going to lose a fortune.

To understand just how awful those numbers are, in its second week, West Side Story lost to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is in its fifth week — $3.4 million for the woke musical, compared to $3.63 million for the non-woke continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise, which I finally had a chance to see this week and loved. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a real charmer, sort of a Goonies meets Ghostbusters set in Middle America with a nice religious theme. Thus far, it’s grossed $118 million and should do very well over the Christmas holidays.

Director Guillermo del Toro’s remake of Nightmare Alley is an even bigger flop than West Side Story. In its first week of wide release, it died an ignoble death at just $3.25 million.

Here you have a director coming off a Best Picture/Director win for The Shape of Water who assembled a cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, and Toni Collette; he then earns rave reviews and a ton of buzz, and what happens? Floperoo.


Well, first off, the Internet isn’t real life. Then there’s the fact that del Toro is a great visualist but weak storyteller. Finally, nobody outside of Manhattan or Beverly Hills liked The Shape of Water, and instead of selling a story, the Nightmare Alley trailers sold the visuals.

Granted, if this were playing in my area, I would have gone to see it. The 1947 original starring Tyrone Power cannot be improved upon, but it’s such a killer story I wouldn’t mind seeing another interpretation. It looks like I’ll have to wait for streaming.

Speaking of streaming, that’s what will be blamed for Nightmare Alley’s floperoo, along with the China Flu. Okay, but then someone’s going to have to explain to me why House of Gucci has already earned a perfectly respectable $45 million. House of Gucci was another one I caught this weekend. It’s never dull, but it’s nothing special. Nevertheless, people still wanted to see it, so people went out to see it— even though it’s an adult drama.

Same with Spider-Man: No Way Home, which opened this weekend dead in the middle of the Omicron fear porn to a quarter of a billion — with a “B” — dollars.

Everyone’s saying, Oh, people will still go to the movies to see superheroes.

Again, that’s spin. People didn’t see Spider-Man: No Way Home because it’s a superhero movie. They went because it’s a movie they want to see.

If Hollywood makes movies people actually want to see, woke-free entertainment like No Way Home, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and House of Gucci, people will show up.

This isn’t hard.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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